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August 27, 2020

It’s Not What You Said, It’s How You Said It

Meara Bridges

It's Not What You Said, It's How You Said It

You walk into a bustling bar where the sound of everyone talking and laughing is overwhelming. Despite the sea of people, you find a handful of distinct characters stand out as you scan the room. In the corner a suave man relaxes, casually telling stories of embellished grandeur to a captive audience. At a high-top table nearby, a refined woman is perfectly perched on her stool. Her posture is impeccable, and she speaks with class and a splash of flirtation. Saddled up to the bar, a hardworking man who epitomizes the American spirit proudly tells the bartender about his legacy. As you turn, you see a man who’s lived through a thing or two striding boldly into the bar, his purposeful gait conveying a sense of determination and confidence. Despite the sensory overload of this crowded bar, these 4 people still manage to hold your attention with the unique way in which they’re presenting themselves.

Wondering where I’m going with this? Perhaps I’m reminiscing on a pre-pandemic night of bar-hopping, laying some long-winded groundwork for a joke with a killer punchline, or just sharing the inner musings of an unabashed people-watcher. Or maybe you’ve surmised that all of this was actually just a description of 4 beer brands holding their own in a saturated market. Although the scenario above is positioned around Dos Equis, Stella Artois, Yuengling, and Guinness, this article is less about who these brands are and more about something important they’re all doing. If you guessed it’s something to do with their approach to advertising, you’re right (but you won’t get any points because honestly, what else would the copywriter of an ad agency be talking about on the company blog? Certainly not cats, despite my proclivities).

Something all of these brands have in common, aside from their popular brews, is a distinctly defined brand persona or “brand voice.” A brand’s voice is paramount to building something that will resonate with your audience, convey the personality of your brand, and uphold its values. Projecting a consistent voice is integral to building a brand with authenticity. And an authentic brand is reliable—your customers will always know who you are and what they can expect from you. Why does that matter? Well, customers like reliable brands, and have confidence giving them their hard-earned money. That’s why defining your brand’s voice from the start is so important. You wouldn’t be careless with the logo you saddle to your name, or the quality of the product you produce, yet many businesses overlook the importance of establishing a brand voice that will help to further consumer trust in their brand.

By the way, your brand’s voice isn’t just what you’re saying. You can tell your customers you care about quality, your products ensure a good time, or that you’ve been doing what you do for years. But guess what—your competitors can tell them the same thing. Your brand’s voice is as much about what you’re saying as it is about how you’re saying it. When you’re thinking about your brand’s voice, it’s good to consider what you value as a company and what you want to inspire in your audience. These thoughts should be a guide in building a brand persona that will give life and personality to the message you’re saying. Is your brand like a weathered and charming Sam Elliot, or a quirky and fun Mindy Kaling? A brazen and badass Samuel L. Jackson, or a snappy and sarcastic Melissa McCarthy? Do you speak to your audience with the warmth and comfort of a southern mama, or a confident nonchalance that inspires them to be as cool as you? A lot of brands out there are all selling the same thing—or some version of it that a customer could get for a cheaper price. Building a persona around your brand through your voice and messaging gives your customers something to connect with. They’re not just buying a beer; they’re identifying with it.

Remember when I mentioned the importance of authenticity? Well, don’t forget it. And remember that to achieve authenticity, consistency is key. Haphazardly composing messages from your brand can run the real risk of projecting a disingenuous persona. If one day your messaging comes from a place of adventure and intrigue, and the next you’re touting the benefits of the simple life, you’re going to confuse—and lose—your audience. This kind of consistency is important across all platforms. Consider this checklist when crafting your messaging:

  • Is what you’re saying consistent with the voice you’ve developed for your brand?
  • Are you saying it in the same tone as your brand’s personality?
  • Does all campaign work align with your brand’s voice? This includes the campaign theme and the stories you’re telling through video, audio, or in writing.
  • Do the tone of your brand and the look of it complement one another?

This list is helpful, but certainly not foolproof. The best way to maintain consistency is by having your messaging crafted by and/or filtered through a dedicated team who fully understands your brand. When a team is moving in lockstep and creating content for your brand with a shared understanding of who your brand is at its core, your messaging will be consistent whether it’s a full fledged TV campaign, a stream of social content, a brand guide for internal company guidance, or something in between.

It’s time for that shameless promotional plug you knew was coming: that team I’m talking about is us. We’re not just an agency bonded over our love of brews. We collectively love building cult brands, and are passionate about the work that goes into crafting a strong foundation and solid brand voice that can elevate companies to cult brand status.

So there you have it. Get in touch with us, and let’s quench that thirst.